Innovation in Translation
How Big Ideas Really Happen
Innovation has a sort of mythic presence in the American psyche. It conjures images of the tech wunderkin raised on VC culture. We see Doc Brown in our minds eye fueling his Delorean with trash, but too eccentric to truly capitalize on his creations. We imagine Nikola Tesla, too single-minded and altruistic to play the capitalist game that would bring his work to market and see it change the world. It’s revealing that so many perceive innovation as a singular undertaking, the purview of fated luminaries marked by the universe for greatness.
As Dave Ferrera shares in Innovation in Translation, this romanticization of the innovator is the result of a primordial grudge between engineer and entrepreneur. It’s a grudge that’s existed since one caveman invented fire while another filed for the patent behind his back. Now we see the beleaguered inventor being swindled by the cigar-gnashing money man and our perceptions crystallize. We love an underdog and there is no greater underdog than the seed of a game changing idea trying to break the soil against the odds.
Yet, Ferrera explains, the relationship between engineer and entrepreneur, between founder and funding, need not be adversarial. In fact, Ferrera argues, the dichotomy is self-imposed and phony. Innovation is a team sport. It takes engineers and entrepreneurs, and many more crucial role players to pull something from the abstract and into reality.
“There is nothing sudden or solo about innovation. It takes years of thoughtful development, testing, and teamwork to really make a new idea happen in the world,” says Ferrera. “Without a team, there is no progress, and this is true of everything from the airplane to the telephone to the personal computer. Progress takes a village.” It’s a difficult notion for Americans to synthesize. As a nation of innovators, the perception of individual exceptionalism is part of our national identity. Yet, the communal mantra of “progress takes a village” is the seed of truth from which Dave Ferrera’s ideas about innovation sprout.
Dave invites the reader along as he travels the world chasing talent, testing new products, and targeting investors for new companies, ideas, and opportunities. Based on firsthand, real world examples from Ferrera’s long history as both engineer and entrepreneur, Innovation in Translation will give you the inside savvy needed to be the coach of your own innovation team and win your market share while entertaining you with edge-of-your-seat stories from the front lines of innovation.